Gail Russell was an American film and television actress.
She was born Elizabeth L. Russell to George and Gladys Russell in Chicago, Illinois, and then moved to the Los Angeles, California area when she was a teenager. Russell’s extraordinary beauty brought her to the attention of Paramount Pictures in 1942. Although she was almost clinically shy and had no acting experience, Paramount had great expectations for her and employed an acting coach to work with her.
At the age of 19 she appeared in her first film, Henry Aldrich Gets Glamour. Russell appeared in several more films in the early and mid 1940s, the most notable being The Uninvited with Ray Milland, and Our Hearts Were Young and Gay, in which she co-starred with Diana Lynn. Russell later appeared in the more popular films, Calcutta with Alan Ladd, and two films with John Wayne, Angel and the Badman and Wake of the Red Witch. She continued working after 1947, and married actor Guy Madison in 1949, but by 1950, it was well known that she had become a victim of alcoholism, and Paramount did not renew her contract. She started drinking on the set of The Uninvited to ease her paralyzing stage fright and lack of self-confidence. Alcohol made a shambles of her career and personal life. She was divorced by Madison in 1954, and after a five-year absence, returned to work in a co-starring role with Randolph Scott in the western Seven Men from Now, produced by her friend Wayne, and had a substantial role in The Tattered Dress .